(The story starts here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch000-excuses.html.)
Now that the professor and the Whitmers and the Pratts are on they way to the islands: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch200-on-a-hunch.html, should we see how Zedidiah and Matt are doing?
(We could intuit this chapter, but I need the practice writing. I should warn you, it feels a little over the top in places.)
The radio crackled to life. "Coast Guard Eastern Crane to Matt Hansted"
Matt started awake and reached for the mike.
"Coast Guard Eastern Crane calling Matt Hansted. Do you read?"
"Copy. Go ahead."
Zedidiah shook himself awake and opened the plane door, stepping down to the beach.
"We are about a half hour off the target. Are you in the air?"
"Negative. We've been waiting on the beach, but we will return to the target immediately."
"Roger and out."
Zedidiah waited for Matt to signal coupez, then pumped the propeller once. It spun, the engine coughed, and then it stopped. When Matt signaled contact, he checked and pumped again, and the engine caught, settling into a smooth roar.
Zedidiah ran back around to the co-pilot side door and climbed in. Matt pushed the plane into taxi, checked the wind in the rudders and ailerons, then accelerated and put the plane in the air.
"Sure appreciate this."
"I'm sure my turn'll come around."
Matt and Zedidiah arrived first, scanning below the surface for the plane they had spotted under the waves a few hours earlier. The water was clear, and they could see to the sea floor, some twenty to forty feet below the surface. Not seeing it immediately, they circled low, spiraling outward. On the third pass, they spotted it, confirming the registration number again on the forth pass.
Zedidiah took the mike and keyed it as Matt turned his plane back to start a circling climb around Wycliffe and Zedidiah's plane in the water.
"Eastern Crane, come in."
"On location, visual on the target, and rising."
Shortly, the radio crackled again.
"We have your plane in sight."
"We're waiting." And Matt nosed back down.
"Can you put me in the water when they have their crew ready?"
"I can hold the plane at forty knots. Into the wind should give you thirty-five, if we're lucky."
"I really want to look at that plane."
Matt took the mike. "Eastern Crane, my co-pilot, the half-owner of the plane, wants me to drop him in the water when you get here."
"Do we have clearance?"
"Does he know how? We are not anxious to make an emergency run to a hospital."
"He's one of those acrobat types."
"It's his life."
When the Eastern Crane arrived, the crew was readying a dinghy to dive from.
Their radio operator called them and said, "We have visual on the plane and the registration confirmed. If he wants to drop, go ahead."
[JMR201606211317: This still needed a lot more care than I gave it.
"Coming down." And he put the mike back.
He flew out a little way off, to get enough room to drop Zedidiah close to the coast guard ship, and turned back into the wind. As he approached the ship, he cut power and extended his flaps.
"See you back at the island," Zedidiah said as he climbed out onto the wing struts, facing forward, into the wind, squatting down.
One might argue a preference for jumping in the other direction so that he could drop a little speed in the jump, but it would at best be inviting a serious bellyburn, and very likely a convulsed diaphragm. You have to remember the relative angles, speeds, and torques here.
Dropping feet first would likely have turned him cartwheels on the surface and slammed his head into the water. Wrists were the least of what could be broken if he got his angle of entry wrong.
Matt nosed the plane down carefully, dropping to a little more than ten feet above the waves. Then he brought the nose back up, signaling Zedidiah as he approached stall speed.
Zedidiah dove downwards, pushing himself forward and below the struts, as Matt trimmed the flaps, set the magneto back to contact and worked the throttle until the wind in the propeller pushed the engine back to life.
With maybe two feet of air between the fuselage and the water, the plane started climbing again as Zedidiah cut the waves hands-first behind him.
Do not try this at home. It's very dangerous. It's like diving from three stories up, but hitting the water at a shallow angle instead of straight-on. And with the tower you dove from falling behind you.
This is how badly both Matt and Zedidiah wanted to find Wycliffe and his passengers. They were hoping for clues from the plane in the water, and there really wasn't any other way to get to the plane that wouldn't have taken more than half a day.
"You guys are both crazy!" crackled over the radio as Matt spotted Zedidiah breaking the water surface behind the plane.
Matt grinned wryly and headed the plane back toward the island. "Blame it on the island sun," he joked into the mike. "I'll be parked on the island when you need me."
Zedidiah turned in the water, sighted the Coast Guard's dinghy, and swam to it.
"Are you okay?"
"Stings a little. I want to go down to get a look."
"Hang on and we'll get you a tank."
Zedidiah waited while the crew dove first and gave the plane a once over. Then they gave him a tank and he dove with them. He checked the cabin, noted what was missing, and pointed out the log book and a few other things that the Coast Guard would need for their examination.
One of the crew pointed out the fuel gauge, and Zedidiah checked it and nodded grimly. After testing the manual controls that could be tested underwater and looking further for damage, they ascended.
Back on board the Eastern Crane, the investigators questioned him, and he explained as much as he knew.
Now we can watch Karel and Bobbie working together: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch220-making-rope-working-wood.html.
The table of contents is here:
[The initial (rough) draft of this chapter can be found here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/04/economics-101-novel-ch21-checking-plane.html.]